NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Building and subdivision

Part 6 (building and subdivision certification provisions) commenced on 1 December 2019

Building regulation and certification provisions in the updated Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), together with the Building Professionals Act 2005 (Building Professionals Act) and the Home Building Act 1989, play a key role in underpinning the design, construction and safety of buildings in NSW.

In 2015, the Independent Review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (known as the 'Lambert Review') identified areas for improvement in the current building regulation and certification system. While many of the improvements relate to the certifier accreditation legislation, some related to the planning system.

The updated EP&A Act addresses issues identified by the Lambert Review by providing a clearer, more logical structure to building regulation and certification.

The key provisions relating to building regulation and certification are contained in one part of the updated Act (Part 6). This includes a clear requirement set out in the Act to deal with the consistency between construction certificates and development consents, rather than being addressed in the regulation as was previously the case.

As this is a significant reform program, the changes were rolled out in stages. Most of the updated EP&A Act commenced on 1 March 2018, including Division 6.7 (Building information certificates). The remaining Part 6 (building and subdivision certification) provisions commenced on 1 December 2019.

The new Part 6 (building and subdivision) provisions:

  • remove interim and final occupation certificates. Note, this will not affect the ability to have staged occupation of buildings
  • create a new certificate for subdivision works, separating subdivision from construction works
  • provide powers for principal certifiers to issue directions to quickly act on non-compliant aspects of a development.

Overall, the changes will promote an effective building regulation, certification and maintenance system by:

  • streamlining the complex building provisions into a single part of the Act, which will enhance usability and reduce red tape
  • introducing measures to ensure construction is consistent with the approved plans, protecting the integrity of the planning system and raising the level of community confidence
  • requiring a Building Manual (in 2020) to be prepared for specified buildings, so that important information about a building is more easily available.

For more information about these changes, you can view the following resources:

Transitional arrangements

Following the commencement of Part 6 on 1 December 2019, the provisions for Occupation Certificates and Subdivision Certificates will only apply to developments granted consent from 1 December. Consents issued before this date will continue to be subject to the old building provisions.

For details on transitional arrangements between the previous and updated EP&A Act, please see the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Savings, Transitional and Other Provisions) Regulation 2017 ;and the Environmental Planning and Assessment (building and subdivision certification provisions) Regulation 2019.

The deferred provisions include the former section 81A(2)–(6), section 86 and Part 4A of the EP&A Act, and the regulations made under Part 4A.

The former section 121ZP of the EP&A Act has been continued through clause 41 of Schedule 5 of the EP&A Act. This allows councils to continue to issue certificates as to whether there are outstanding orders or notices for a site.

Find out more

For further information you can email the Department at legislativeupdates@planning.nsw.gov.au.

To read more about the changes to the Act see Part 7 - Infrastructure contributions.

Page last updated: 22/11/2022